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Exploring the biophysical option space for feeding the world without deforestation

Erb, Karl-Heinz; Lauk, Christian; Kastner, Thomas; Mayer, Andreas; Theurl, Michaela C. and Haberl, Helmut (2016) Exploring the biophysical option space for feeding the world without deforestation. Nature Communication, 7 (11382), pp. 1-9.

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Document available online at: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160419/ncomms11382/full/ncomms11382.html


Safeguarding the world’s remaining forests is a high priority goal. We assess the biophysical option space for feeding the world in 2050 in a hypothetical zero deforestation world. We systematically combine realistic assumptions on future yields, agricultural areas, livestock feed and human diets. For each scenario, we determine whether the supply of crop products meets the demand and whether the grazing intensity stays within plausible limits. We find that many options exist to meet the global food supply in 2050 without deforestation, even at low crop-yield levels. Within the option space, individual scenarios differ greatly in terms of biomass harvest, cropland demand and grazing intensity, depending primarily on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of human diets. Grazing constraints strongly limit the option space. Without the option to encroach into natural or semi-natural land, trade volumes will rise in scenarios with globally converging diets, thereby decreasing the food self-sufficiency of many developing regions.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Sustainability assessment, climate protection, Food security, climate, FiBL Austria
Subjects: Food systems > Community development
"Organics" in general
Food systems > Recycling, balancing and resource management
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation:Austria > FiBL Austria
Austria > Other organizations
DOI:DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11382
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/en/austria/work-areas-at/organic-farming-climate-change.html, http://www.nature.com/ncomms/index.html
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:30058
Deposited On:29 Apr 2016 10:53
Last Modified:29 Apr 2016 10:53
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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